Tim Dowling: Acting base helps writing

10 Screenwriters to Watch

Travis Beacham | Sheila Callaghan | Adam Cozad | Michael Diliberti | Tim Dowling | Lena Dunham | Seth Grahame-Smith | Simons & Schoolcraft | Mike Jones | Jones & McCormack

Ever since I remember, I wanted to act,” says Tim Dowling, who studied theater at USC. After struggling as a thesp, however, he found a bit more welcoming career as a scribe. His work on the 1999 comedy short “George Lucas in Love” opened up some doors; then he wrote a spec called “Back to the Teen Movie,” got an agent at Endeavor, did months of meetings, but “no work came out of it,” says Dowling.

But he persevered. A couple of script jobs later — “The Harder They Fall,” an action spoof, and “Outsourced,” a buddy comedy about outsourcing, which made the Black List — and Dowling was on his way: He wrote the Adam Sandler romantic comedy “Just Go With It,” which got fast-tracked at Sony, McG’s “This Means War,” a buddy action movie/romantic comedy set to shoot for Fox, and Tribeca Prods’ “Midnight Run 2.”

Tribeca producer Jane Rosenthal singles out Dowling for a “passion for the craft of storytelling (that is) equally matched by his energy, imagination and unique comic perspective.”

Though Dowling’s acting career may not have taken off, the training informs his writing.

“I did a lot of improv comedy, which is very freeing creatively,” he says. “And I found my voice as a writer when I applied that to writing; instead of being one character, I’m all the characters and not trying to censor myself and come up with the most creative thing possible.”

Though Dowling is a go-to comedy guy, he’s very much a product of the movies he grew up with, he says, citing “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “The Goonies” as influences. “If I could do anything, I’d like to write the fifth Indiana Jones movie,” he says. “That would be my dream job.”

Name: Tim Dowling
Provenance: Boston, MA
Age: 37
Inspiration: “‘Tootsie’ and ‘It Happened One Night’ are probably my favorite comedies and I always go back to those two,” he says.
Reps: Dan Rabinow, Greg McKnight, Dan Aloni (CAA); Dawn Saltzman (Mosaic)

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